Agarwal dismantles South Africa as India cruise into commanding position

By Sports Desk October 10, 2019

Mayank Agarwal continued his fine form as his century helped India take a commanding position at the end of day one of the second Test against South Africa.

Agarwal - who amassed 215 in the first innings of the first Test as India claimed a resounding win - hit 108 from 195 deliveries in Pune on Thursday.

He was ably supported by Cheteshwar Pujara (58) and India captain Virat Kohli (63 not out), as the hosts reached stumps on 273-3.

There was one bright spot for South Africa, with Kagiso Rabada taking all three of their wickets, although the paceman will need support if Faf du Plessis' side are to prevent India posting a huge total.

While Agarwal took some time to get into his stride, his partner Rohit Sharma was swiftly on the attack before his wicket fell when Rabada drew an edge that carried through to Quinton de Kock.

Three boundaries in one over saw Agarwal take the fight back to South Africa before lunch, however, and he brought up his fifty with a perfectly timed cut shot early in the afternoon session.

Pujara was looking equally as sharp at the other end, registering his half-century in style with two fours following a six.

The partnership ended when Rabada struck again, Pujara fishing at a wide, short delivery the he edged to Du Plessis.

Keshav Maharaj was smashed for two successive maximums as Agarwal moved on to 99 - India's opener steering Vernon Philander for a boundary to surpass 100 in the next over.

Agarwal's innings was halted by Du Plessis' smart catch from another Rabada delivery soon afterwards, though Kohli took up the mantle - scoring 26 off 19 balls to bring up another half-century and steer India into a strong position heading into day two.

Related items

  • Rugby World Cup 2019: Japan inspired to honour 'Mr Rugby' against South Africa Rugby World Cup 2019: Japan inspired to honour 'Mr Rugby' against South Africa

    Japan's players will be inspired by the memory of Seiji Hirao when they face South Africa in an eagerly awaited Rugby World Cup quarter-final at the weekend.

    Former Japan captain and head coach Hirao – nicknamed "Mr Rugby" in his homeland – died three years ago this Sunday aged 53 after a battle with cancer.

    Full-back Ryohei Yamanaka played under Hirao, who represented the Brave Blossoms at the 1987, 1991 and 1995 World Cup, at Kobe Steelers.

    "[The quarter-final] is the date he passed away, so there'll be a game on an important day for me as well," he said.

    Japan's scrum coach Shin Hasegawa was handed his international breakthough by Hirao during his playing days.

    "I'm a bit emotional talking about Hirao," he added. "He was the one who picked me for the national team, he was the one who played me. We have a game on a special day. I hope we can pay him back.

    "The best memory is receiving a letter in my room a day before our opening match in the 2003 World Cup. It wasn't that long but had things that encouraged me and made me feel, 'I need to fight for this man'. 

    "I remember heading into the game with a good motivation. I asked him one time why I was chosen and he said, 'For the scrum, of course', so I really focused on it. He really kept his eyes on me and was a great coach."

    Japan stunned the Springboks with a 34-32 victory at the 2015 World Cup and hooker Atsushi Sakate explained they are leaving no stone unturned in pursuit of a repeat – combining brain and brawn.

    "Our psychologist, Dave [David Galbraith] makes quizzes and writes them on the whiteboard," he explained.

    "It is part of the training focusing on how to use your brain under pressure and in tough situations.

    "It was started at our training camp in Abashiri. You have to make decisions during the toughest time during the match. You use your brain.

    "That is why it was put up when we had tough weightlifting training."

  • Overlooked Lyon not giving up on T20 World Cup hopes Overlooked Lyon not giving up on T20 World Cup hopes

    Nathan Lyon is refusing to give up hope on featuring for Australia at their home ICC Men's T20 World Cup despite missing out on selection against Sri Lanka and Pakistan.

    The spinner has only made two T20I appearances for his country – the last of those coming a year ago – and is not included for his country's upcoming series in 20-over cricket.

    But Lyon, Australia's third-highest wicket-taker in Tests, still wants to play in all three formats and will continue to make himself available.

    "Definitely I want to put my hand up for all games of cricket, especially for Australia," he said.

    "Whatever game I play cricket for, I just need to make sure I'm doing my job and if I keep putting my hand up for selection, who knows where that may lead to?"

    Lyon, who was facing a similar battle prior to the 50-over World Cup before entering as Australia's front-line spinner, insists there is no issue with chairman of selectors Trevor Hohns.

    "He just called me and told me I wasn't in," he added.

    "But I had a really good chat to Cracker [Hohns] – I get along really well with him – so if I have any issues with Cracker, I'll just pick up the phone.

    "There's no doubt. I have the absolute utmost respect for him so there's no dramas there."

  • Rugby World Cup 2019: Springboks have some Ferraris of our own, says Le Roux Rugby World Cup 2019: Springboks have some Ferraris of our own, says Le Roux

    Willie le Roux is confident South Africa have enough speed of their own to cope with Japan's "Ferraris".

    That was the nickname given to Japan fliers Kenki Fukuoka and Kotaro Matsushima by head coach Jamie Joseph, whose side have been the surprise package on home soil at the Rugby World Cup.

    Japan's attacking brand of rugby yielded shock wins over Ireland and Scotland, the latter seeing the Brave Blossoms top Pool A to set up a quarter-final with the Springboks, who they upset in the group stages four years ago.

    South Africa are no slouches themselves, though, with Cheslin Kolbe and Makazole Mapimpi providing pace and threat out wide.

    Le Roux, who brought laughter among the press pack by describing himself as a "bakkie" – a type of pickup truck – is eager to face the challenge.

    "We've definitely got a few Ferraris out there as well," Le Roux said. "I don't think I'm one of them – I'm more of a bakkie person – a Toyota bakkie.

    "The guys who will play this weekend are fast, and if I get an opportunity to play as well, I will do my best to put them away and put them in space."

    The 30-year-old full-back is expecting a daunting challenge against Japan's varied attack.

    "For the back three, it is going to be very hard work," he added. 

    "They put all those kicks in and have specific guys chasing. They are very fast out wide, chasing those balls.

    "The guys playing in the back three will have to be awake and be alive to those kicks."

© 2018 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.